Jeff Goins is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “Real Artists Don’t Starve,” and the teacher of one of the fastest growing online courses for writers, Tribe Writers.
Interview with Jeff Goins:
Jeff, you’ve been successfully helping writers become published authors through your Tribe Writers online course for several years now, and I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you a few questions about self-publishing, platform building, and your online class for writers and bloggers, which is taking over the internet.
Q1 Bryan: Today anyone can self-publish their work, which has created a publishing revolution whereby authors can completely bypass the publishing gatekeepers. What is your take on self-publishing?
I think it’s awesome. There used to be only one “legitimate” way to publish a book. Now, you have a choice. If you do the work of 1) building a platform and 2) connecting with an audience, you can 3) choose how to publish.
You don’t have to wait to be picked. It’s a wonderful time where writers are the most empowered they’ve ever been.
Q2 Bryan: Do you believe self-publishing has lowered the overall quality of publishing?
Any time you remove gatekeepers from a system that has existed for 500 years, you’re going to see a large influx of people exercising their freedom and I believe, as with anything, the cream will still rise to the top.
Now more than ever (since anyone can now publish), it’s important for you to set yourself apart as someone who has something important to say and to reach the right group of people (your tribe) who want to hear what you’ve got to say.
Most people are lost as to the tribe building part and wonder in dismay as to why their words are not reaching more people. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Q3 Bryan: Why should an author consider self-publishing?
1) Because you will respect the publishing process more once you’ve done it.
2) Because you’ll appreciate how hard it is to create, sell, and market a book.
3) The lessons you learn will be immensely valuable if you eventually traditionally publish your work.
In fact, it may even lead you to go with a traditional publisher next time or figure out how to work with a distributor. Or you may discover you’re awesome at it. Especially if you’ve grown your tribe.
In any case, it’s a no-lose scenario. I often meet authors who first self-published and then leveraged that opportunity to get a traditional book contract. But that doesn’t even have to be the point; the point is: You’ve got something to say, and the world needs to hear it.
Q4 Bryan: Are there still benefits to working with a traditional publisher?
Yes. The main one being increased distribution and the ability to work with an entire team of experts (if you’re lucky).
Is it the only way or always the best way? No, of course not. But it should be an option you consider. If you’ve built a platform and a tribe, you will have a choice in how you publish.
Q5 Bryan: In your experience what are the most important factors when self-publishing that authors should take into consideration?
There are three of them:
1) Build an audience that anticipates your work BEFORE it comes out. (If you’ve already published you still need to build an audience / tribe.)
2) Write a really good book.
3) Launch it well.
The audience-building part is essential, especially for self-published authors, and frankly, nearly as much for traditionally published authors as well now.
The quality of book will help you stand out from the masses. And a good launch is possible with a tribe and will give your book enough lift to reach new people and give it a good shot at long-term sales.
Q6 Bryan: Tribe Writers is an online writing and platform course you created for authors who would like to build a platform and get the audience they deserve, as well as publish their work. In what ways is building a platform important for the self-published author?
It is essential. Without a platform, you’re gambling.
Does that mean you can’t still succeed without one? No, of course not. But it raises the stakes and increases the risk.
The best way to ensure your book sells is to build an audience around the content before you publish. And the best way to do that is through a platform that leverages permission and trust.
Q7 Bryan: How important is it to have a published book, regardless of how it is published?
My friend Michael Hyatt (former CEO of Thomas Nelson, a book publishing company) says a published book is still the number one way to identify yourself as a leader or expert in a category.
I agree. But what I love even more about a book is that it’s a shareable idea, a consumable piece of content that spreads your message and connects with people.
I love blogging, but nothing connects with a reader quite like a book. And so it’s even better when you have a tribe to share the book with, and they, in turn, can share it with others and so on… This is the way many books become bestsellers and today’s authors become household names.
Q8 Bryan: How does your Tribe Writers course help? I’ve seen where you’ve posted 4 main points about Tribe Writers, can you list them for Positive Writer readers?
Sure, Tribe Writers will help:
1. Identify your writing voice and clarify your message.
2. Build a platform by mastering the art of blogging and online marketing.
3. Find your 1000 true fans through email list-building and networking.
4. Publish your work and start making your first $1000 as a writer.
Tribe Writers is designed to help writers stop procrastinating, find their tribe, and get their message out there. So, all of that together creates a pretty powerful platform. Your readers can find out more about the course, (click) here.
Q9 Bryan: Your Tribe Writers course has had unprecedented success. It’s helping writers and bloggers not only build their tribes but also publish books and create bestselling hits. How does that make you feel?
I’m humbled. I’ve been amazed at the community that’s formed around this course. In many ways, the relationships and connections are far more valuable than the content. I’m honored to be a part of it and so impressed by what the students are doing with what they’ve learned and beyond.
Q10 Bryan: What would you like to say to those who are frustrated and ready to call it quits?
Don’t quit. We need your voice. In the end, what it means to be a good writer has less to do with skill and more to do with perseverance. Stick with it; you won’t regret it.
Thank you, Jeff, for your thoughtful answers and your time. And congratulations on the success of Tribe Writers!
Thanks, Bryan. The honor’s all mine. You’ve done an amazing thing with Positive Writer. I’m a fan!